Go Maoists Go

Well-armed Maoist rebels are rapidly expanding their insurgency in India. It has to be stopped now, or in two years, it will get out of hand, says the state. 22,000 fighters under arms. They mostly operate in the East, especially Chattisargh and Jharkand, but they are expanding all over. They are even starting to form cells in big cities. Good for them. Indian capitalism has failed. Time to try something new.
The Indian Maoists have deep links to the Nepalese Maoists, a very forward-looking group of Leftists who are now pretty much running the Nepalese government. Would be great to see a similar-looking group running India. The Indian Left makes sense on Kashmir and even supports separatism in India’s Northeast. I think they could make peace with Pakistan too.

Letter From Mexifornia

Well, the local wannabe Nortenos* just pulled a gun on the local wannabe Surenos* about 30 yards outside my front door, and someone called the cops. Now the complex is swarming with cops. I wish they would haul some of these idiots away. They’re all about 17-21 years old. When a town in California turns from White to non-White, things sure get a lot more exciting. Diversity is our strength!
*They are wannabes because none of them have actually “earned their stripes.” There are a couple of levels of gangs here, the wannabe kids and the real hardcores, who are often older.

Who Watches More Porn?

Great post from the very interesting Congenial Times blog on porn and who in the Hell watches that horrible stuff anyway. The author is gay, and he notes that gay men always have a big porn collection and are known to follow the careers of porn stars like others follow baseball. Hey, good for them! But he points out that the straight men* he knows usually don’t have any porn collections.
Reason for that is, IMHO, that straight culture, namely women, won’t let us collect that stuff. Our straight male friends look down on it too. They come over, see porn on the computer or VCR and right away, they make some snide remark about spanking the salami. Well, yeah? I guess this doesn’t happen in gay male culture because apparently slamming the salmon is viewed positively in that culture. Good for them.
It’s not really viewed positively in straight culture, even though polls show that 97% of all males prime the pump, and the other 3% are liars. The whole implication in straight culture is that strangling the monkey is a shameful act, and the implication is that you are not getting any sex, and that’s why you can’t stop choking the poultry.
Women think whacking the weasel is stupid, unless they are watching us do it on cam, which seems to be an increasingly popular pastime with straight women. Straight women also hate porn, pretty much. They don’t like it themselves and they don’t like that we like it. They steal our collections and delete them from our computers. They find it insulting that we look at chicks who are not them, which means they compete with the porn chicks and think they lost the race.
The whole flogging the log enterprise is regarded in straight culture with snickers and overtones of, “Boy, you sure are a loser, huh?”
There seems to be an age thing here, as young women 19-30 or so seem to be a lot more into porn than those my age or my Mom’s age, who pretty much hate it. I think the reason is that young women are free to watch the stuff, and it’s easily available on the Internet. Since they are free to watch it, a lot of them have, and  lots of them found that they like it.
I notice that most of these young women don’t watch lots of porn though. Just sometimes. I haven’t heard of many straight female porn addicts, but it would be interesting to find one if they exist.
Female sex addicts definitely exist. They’re usually about age 20-34 or so in my experience, but I guess there might be older and younger ones. My neighbor complains that he doesn’t mind having sex up to 5 times a day with his 20 yr old girlfriend, but dammit, she wants it 6-9 times a day. Poor guy. All of us guys should have such misfortunes.
Congenial Times finds that in a survey, bi men watch porn the most of all, then gay men close behind, and straight men way behind the others. This figures, as most of the bisexual men I have known are really extreme sex addicts of the worst kind who won’t take no for an answer. They’re often quite conflicted, lie a lot, deny the male sex part of their game, and have all sorts of issues with the women in their lives. Gay men always struck me as happier than these guys.
And yeah, they do try to seduce straight men. So much so, that friendships with them are essentially impossible.
On to the women. Straight women watch porn the least of all, and lesbians are 40% more likely to watch it. That’s really interesting, and Congenial Times discusses this a bit. Bisexual women watch about 2.5 times as much porn as straight women. This is not surprising, as bi women seem to be seriously oversexed for some reason. Maybe bisexuals in general are oversexed, males and females.
Anyway, it’s nice to see that gay guys are so positive about porn and apparently the attendant yanking and cranking. As a 1960’s style sexual liberationist “do it in the streets” type, I’m opposed to all forms of antisexual behavior. All forms of sexual expression, all the way from monogamy to as many partners as you want with whoever you want to swinging to celibacy, should be fully accepted, no questions asked.
Obviously there are risks with promiscuity, but it’s not a moral issue. Masturbation, like most kinds of sex, is lots of fun for both sexes and all ages, and condemning it is de facto antisexual.
As for me, well, I’m 51, and not only that, I’m on a drug that hammers my sex drive. It’s actually a good thing, because I’m such a sex addict that without those sexual speed bumps, I’d probably be surfing porn 12 hours a day and not getting a whole lot else done. Even fun addictions are a millstone, and it’s better to be free.
*Robert Lindsay is a straight male who couldn’t be gay if he wanted to.

Fastest Growing Religion

Muslims love to lie and say it’s Islam.
Forget that.
It’s Baha’i by a long shot.
Christianity is growing very fast too, but not as fast as Islam. And in Black Africa, Islam is probably losing millions every single year, all because Gulf Arabs are so racist they won’t spend money to keep up the mosques. Most of the loss is converts to Christianity. Probably 15% of Muslims who move to the UK leave Islam. Islam is not growing due to conversions. It’s mostly due to a very high Muslim birthrate.
Baha’i is supposed to be a pretty cool religion, but I doubt if “the Bob” or whoever he was really got shot to death in the mid-1800’s in Persia and then miraculously came back to life. That’s one of their beliefs.
Baha’is are mercilessly persecuted in Iran. The Shia just out and out kill them. They are considered the lowest scum on Earth because they are seen as Muslim heretics. You think Muslims hate infidels? Polytheists are worse, and the most hated of all are the schismatic Muslims who preach what mainstream Islam regard as overt heresies.
The Ahmadiya in Pakistan and India are similarly despised and mistreated. The fundamentalists hate the Alawi in Syria too as de facto heretics, but the Asad ruling elite has gone to great lengths to say that Alawis are just regular Muslims.
The Druze are also hated by fundamentalists, but they are so hardass, gun-crazy and suicidally homicidal in Lebanon that everyone pretty much leaves them alone. They believe in reincarnation, so they are not afraid to die. They were some of the most insane fighters of all in the Civil War.
The Sunni fundamentalist beef against the Shia is that the Shia are heretics. That’s a really hard to case to make, seeing as the Shia are practically the original Muslims. It’s like these idiot Protestant fundamentalists who say that Catholics are not Christians. Hell, they are the original Christians, come on. Them and the Othodox. One church, two branches, East and West, and they healed their schism long ago.

Typical Muslim Behavior

The Taiba, West Bank, pogrom in September 2005.
The Muslims always do this to us Christians, especially when we are small minorities.
It’s probably not that bad to be a Christian in Morocco, Tunisia or Libya. I had a Black African friend from Togo, a Catholic, who was living in Morocco for a while, and there were no problems. And I knew some Nigerian Christians who were in Libya. There were no real problems, but they said that the Libyan Arabs were openly racist towards Blacks (typical Arab behavior)  and they really hated Christians.
In places where Christian minorities are tiny, the Muslims just leave them alone as unimportant.
In places like Lebanon, the Muslims leave the Christians alone too, since the Christians are very well-armed and have lots of political power and numbers. The Maronites, for all their faults, have the reputation for being some of the baddest-ass Christians in the Middle East, and the one group of Christians who successfully fought off the Muslims for centuries.
It seems to be ok to be a Christian in Syria and Jordan too. Egypt is definitely not ok. It’s not a nightmare, but there are a lot of problems for Christians. Turkey and Pakistan are not secure for Christians at all, but Iran seems to be ok.
The Christians have been ethnically cleansed from Chechnya, and there is ongoing ethnic cleansing in Iraq. In Southern Philippines and the Moluccas, it’s “kill the Christians.” Anywhere you have a jihad against the Christian “occupiers” or “colonists” (Chechnya, Philippines and Iraq) the local Christians really get pounded. There’s typically ethnic cleansing and genocidal behavior of some sort.
There are real problems in places like Palestine where the Christians have more than tiny numbers, but not big enough numbers or power to be tough like the Maronites.

The Motto of the Holocaust Deniers

Contradictory agendas are pretty common with humans, conflicted critters that we are.
Back in my doper days I used to run across dopers who were adamant about how much they hated dope, but yet there was a punch line at the end. Their song went: “I hate dope! Dope sucks! Only losers do dope! You do dope? You’re a loser! You’re a scum!…Speaking of which … Dope … Hey! … Got any?
The Holocaust Denier sings a similar darkly humorous tune: “The Holocaust never happened, but let’s do it again, and this time let’s finish the job!”
Yeah right. You guys expect us to fall for that? How dumb do you think we are? You don’t even believe in Holocaust Denial yourselves. That’s just for the consumption of others, huh? You’re lying and you know it. SMH.

Mutual Intelligibility in the Romance Languages

Whether or not I am a reliable source for the question of mutual intelligibility has been questioned in a debate on Wikipedia. It’s been suggested that I am an amateur linguist – that is, I am not a real linguist. This is not true. I am in fact a real linguist. My credentials are that have an MA in Linguistics and have worked in the past as a professional linguist for an Indian tribe in a paid position.
Here is an excellent link on the question of mutual intelligibility between Spanish and Portuguese, the subject of a prior post.  If you Google the question, you get all sorts of hits for the question, so it is obviously something that people are very interested in.
But here’s a guy who actually tested it out experimentally. In the test, which used Spanish speakers from South America and Portuguese speakers from Brazil, Spanish had 58% intelligibility for Portuguese speakers, and Portuguese had 50% intelligibility for Spanish speakers (Jensen 1989). This stands to reason, given popular stories about Spanish speakers being able to ask directions of Portuguese speakers but not being able to understand the response. Portuguese is harder for Spanish speakers than vice versa. Combining the two gives us a figure of 54% intelligibility between Spanish and Portuguese in real life situations in South America today (Jensen 1989).
The test attempted to factor out exposure to the other language and decided that Spanish and Portuguese have about 45% inherent intelligibility or comprehension of those speakers not previously exposed to the other language (Jensen 1989). That sounds about right.
So Spanish and Portuguese have 45% inherent intelligibility and 54% in real life situations in South America involving some bilingual learning.
Keep in mind that Spanish and Portuguese have 89% lexical similarity. Based on that, you would think that they can understand each other or that they are dialects of a single language. But lexical similarity is almost always going to be higher than intelligibility, so that 89% figure is quite misleading. For instance, Frisian and English have 61% lexical similarity, but in the Frisian video in the prior post, I could not make out a single word in five minutes. It appears that 60% lexical similarity and $1.89 will get you a Slurpee at a 7-11 but little in the way of understanding another language.
We also learn, here, that no one can understand French except the French. Spanish, Portuguese, Italians, Romanians, no one can understand the darned French. This makes sense to me. I can’t understand a word of the local French-speaking tourists, and I had a semester of French. They always talk like they are holding their noses.
This is interesting in light of the fact that Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian have 89%, 75%, 75% and 75% lexical similarity with French. But all those similar words aren’t worth a hill of beans when it comes to understanding a Frenchman.
Spanish speakers have a better understanding of Italian. Italian and Spanish have 85% lexical similarity, and that is worse than the 89% for Spanish and Portuguese.
That’s for spoken communication. For written communication, French and Italian can understand each other a lot more. The same is true with Spanish and Portuguese. They can understand the other language when written much better than when spoken.
What is interesting is that everyone accepts that Spanish, Portuguese and Italian are separate languages, despite 54% intelligibility for Spanish and Portuguese.
However, in the cases of Austrian/Bavarian, Swabian (spoken around Stuttgart) and Mainfränkisch (Moselle Franconian, close to Luxembourgeois), these three languages are only 40% intelligible with Standard German. Their status as separate languages has infuriated lots of Germans who just consider them to be merely dialects of German, or “cheap slangs” of some type or other. Yet they have a better case for being separate languages than Spanish and Portuguese do.
Romanian also seems to have some understanding of both Spanish and Italian. Romanian speakers say that they moved to Italy, could immediately pick up a fair amount of the conversation, and picked up Italian very fast. Romanians have ~65% intelligibility of Italian when spoken and possibly 85-90% when written. They can understand written Catalan better than Spanish and spoken South American Spanish better than Castillian Spanish.
Vice versa, Italians living in Italy run into Romanians regularly and say that they can understand Romanian quite well. Spanish speakers say that they can understand a fair amount of Romanian, and Romanians can understand even more of their Spanish. Spanish and Italian have 71% and 77% lexical similarity with Romanian.
Catalan may be about 60-70% intelligible to a Spanish speaker, and that is with 85% lexical similarity. Oddly enough, Spanish speakers seem to understand Galician better than Portuguese speakers do. Spanish speakers can probably understand 85% of Galician. That doesn’t make much sense, but that’s how it is. Standard Galician is said to be pretty Hispanicized these days.
Looking for a nice dialect continuum across Europe where you can keep on understanding people everywhere you go? Try this, starting at Portugal:
Portuguese, Mirandese, Fala, Galician, Asturian, Aragonese, Spanish, Catalan, Gascon, Occitan, Auvergnat, Provençal, Franco-Provençal, French, Gallo, Picard, Jersey, Guernsey, Walloon, Romansch, Friulian, Ladin, Lombard, Ligurian, Piedmontese, Emiliano-Romagnolo, Venetian, Italian, Neapolitan, Corsican, Sicilian, Sardinian Gallurese, Sardinian Logudorese, Sardinian Sassarese, Sardinian Campidanese, Latin, Moldovan, Romanian, Megleno-Romanian, Istro-Romanian, Macedo-Romanian.

References

Jensen, John B. 1989. On the Mutual Intelligibility of Spanish and Portuguese. Hispania 72: 848-852.

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Hard Tests Are So Damned Racist

Black firefighters are suing the city of Houston because they do so poorly on a test required to be elevated to the level of captain. It’s a multiple choice test, and the Black spokesman said that Blacks don’t so as well on high-stakes tests. So the Blacks are suing that the tests are discriminatory. This shows the utter insanity of Cultural Marxism. Any test that Blacks or whoever else do worse on must be racist or biased. Yeah, it’s biased because it’s hard. Whites do better on hard tests than Blacks do.
That’s racist right there. We need to get rid of all of these hard tests and requirements, all through our lives and society. We need to make all tests and requirements for every damned thing under the sun easy, because making stuff difficult is racist and KKK-like.
Later, they interview an “educational anthropologist” who acknowledges that Blacks do worse on high-stakes tests. No one quite knows why, says the article. Huh? What else don’t we know? That the Earth is round? One theory is that Blacks get inferior educations than Whites.
That’s possibly true (that they get a worse education) but the main reason for that is because when you have large numbers of Blacks in any school, typically just about everyone gets a lousy education, because the Blacks destroy the school. How do I know this? Direct observation and unfortunately experience. I taught in the LA schools for many years.
Another theory tossed is that Blacks get nervous before tough tests and screw up. This is the legendary “stereotype threat” that has been tossed out as a reason for all sorts of low Black test scores. We Leftists would love to believe in cool theories like this, or even, Hell, the eduction one, but they are both wrong.
Stereotype threat has actually been proven to be wrong in quite a few studies if you ask me, though it’s hard to test for. For one thing, Blacks don’t experience much anxiety period. I bet the Whites and Asians are probably more nervous before hard tests than the Blacks. I bet the Whites and Asians who get the highest scores (the nerds) are the most nervous of all. So much for that theory. Considering that stereotype threat has been disproven for about a decade now, it’s amazing that they are throwing it out there as a hot theory.
I believed in all this leftwing BS for most of my life. At one point, I started studying the issue. I wanted to believe all the leftwing BS, so I spent years testing it out. I think I studied this for around a decade or so, testing out all my crazy theories, and then I finally threw up my hands. None of my theories was working.
The reason that Blacks score worse on high stakes tests (or probably just about any test not involving a football, basketball or microphone) is that they are simply, as a group, less intelligent than Whites. Always less smart? Not necessarily. But they are at this point in time. We know this because IQ tests conclusively prove that Blacks are on average less intelligent than Whites right now.
I’m acquainted with one of the top IQ researchers in the world (in his case, a Leftist) and I assure you that the tests are not biased in any way, shape or form. Might Blacks at some point be just as smart as Whites, or surpass them? It’s possible; all we can say is what the scores are right now, but I would not bet on it. I do believe that Blacks have in the past and can in the future close the gap to some extent.
Are they born that way, is it biological or genetic? It’s possible, but I’m not willing to say that. Keep in mind that environment effects IQ also. IQ would not have been rising by 3 points per decade in both Blacks and Whites for the last 80 years if that were not true.
In the article, a Black firefighter compares a being a captain of a firefighting team to playing football. Forget it. I don’t necessarily support high stakes tests just to be a firefighter in the first place, but this is the test for captain. I understand that captain commands a team of men. You need to be smarter than your average firefighter to do that. He needs to make all sorts of snap, on the spot decisions and he holds the lives of his men in his hands. Damn right they need a hard test for that.
One final comment. It’s a multiple guess, excuse me,  multiple choice, test for Chrissake. How hard could it be? It’s not essay, problem solve or fill in the blanks. Come on, man.
This stuff is embarrassing for Black people. With so many fine examples of intelligent and accomplished Blacks in our land, like the President and First Lady, there’s no reason to dumb everything down. When you dumb everything down, everyone gets hurt, because you end up with unqualified clowns littering the responsible positions and holding the certificates of achievement in society. Certificates and positions which become increasingly meaningless.
Black IQ’s have risen 20 points over 80 years in the US. US Blacks today are smarter than the Whites of 1950. Black folks are getting smarter and smarter. There’s no reason to dumb everything down. What’s next on the dumb down agenda? Attorneys and physicians?
If I were going to be rude, I would say that the firefighter tests are biased all right, biased against dumb people, but I won’t say that.

"You Can't Be An Anthropologist Without a PhD"

When I was working as a linguist – anthropologist for an Indian tribe, my silly boss told me that a professor told her that you can’t be a linguist or an anthropologist without a PhD. At the time, I was working on salary as a linguist – anthropologist. That was my job description, and I received a check for doing that. Working as a cultural anthropologist meant working with Indian informants, surveying literature, etc.
It’s true, I didn’t have a degree in anthropology, but I had done lots of reading in the field and taken a course. I bought a book on how to do field anthropology and all the rest was what you call on the job learning. As far as being a linguist, I was doing that too. I had an MA in Linguistics, but had never taken a course in field methods.
No problem. I just got a hold of a bunch of books, called up a bunch of professors and field linguists, and figured it out on my own. I was annoyed at the guy’s remark (he was some kind of a PhD somewhere), but it was no big deal. The world is full of idiots, and some of them even have PhD’s.
My uncle had a PhD and he was one of the most arrogant people you have ever met. One time, he got into it with the department secretary and the department chair called him and read him the riot act. “Look!” the chair said. “Around here, PhD’s are a dime a dozen, but a really good secretary is damned hard to find! Now knock it off!”
My uncle was furious that he was considered less than a lowly secretary and was constantly repeating this story to everyone who would hear, expecting them to share his outrage. Mostly I think the listeners just agreed with the department chair.
Anyway, it wasn’t until recently that I caught on to what the professor with PhD fetish was all about. There are autodidacts all over the world, and I’ve been quite impressed by some of them. The ones who do best are the ones who follow academic consensus.
Let me elaborate. In any field, consensus is more or less arrived at by the experts in the field, and most of them have degrees or even advanced degrees. An academic consensus about a variety of issues and theories related to the field develops over a period of time. In other areas, disagreement persists. And if the consensus is theoretically weak, eventually it starts getting challenged by a few renegades.
One thing you notice about a lot of autodidacts is that they have a real scattershot education. They more or less gave themselves a degree or advanced degree, and they didn’t necessarily take the required courses. Upshot is that they are great at some stuff and terrible at other stuff.  Worse, they often lack the essential basic background that those with a degree have. The field has been set for a crank.
A scattershot education means the autodidact is often going off half-cocked and saying some really stupid things that no one with a real education would ever say. Really, if you want a seat at the table of debate, you need to prove to us that you deserve one. If you’re an autodidact, no problem, but shows that you’ve got the necessary background, either through formal or informal education, to get a seat at the table. If you can’t show us that, give us a reason why we should listen to you at all.
That may sound cruel, but autodidacts do tons of damage to good theory, mostly by contaminating it in the public square. In the field of history, broad consensus has been reached about the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide and many other things.
Yet the world is full of amateur historians who set out to prove that proven history never even happened. Sure, they are shut out of the academy. For damned good reason. So they contaminate the public sphere with very well-crafted nonsense designed to fool the gullible. I
It’s no secret why nearly all Holocaust Deniers couldn’t get a history professorship even with millions of dollars. In academia, we don’t tolerate nuts, loons and cranks. You either back up your stuff with some sort of facts, or we don’t even let you in in the first place. Sure there are Creationists running around. Some even have Biology degrees. Do you think they can get a Biology Professorship somewhere? Not on your life. Their views are going to land them on their ass before they even have a foot in the door.
There is consensus in meteorology about global warming. Outside the academy, the world is full of meteorological autodidacts whose great calculations show us that global warming cannot possibly be occurring.
There is consensus in biology about which animals are species, subspecies and whatnot. There’s even an organization to stick names on critters. Outside the academy, there are all sorts of amateur field biologists, many receiving large paychecks, who know more than the standards bodies.
Consensus in academia is criticized, but it’s not the bugaboo it seems. If it’s theoretically weak, some maverick will show up and start knocking over the furniture. He might make some folks mad, but they will generally keep it civil.
A requirement in academia is to keep your differences with other scholars respectful and civil. If you notice the autodidacts, they don’t seem to be capable of doing that. They’re often screaming and yelling in various public forums,  leaving nasty snail trails all over that are going to follow them wherever they go. Professors are not supposed to do that. If you do, you might get investigated, if not fired.
Bottom line is that when some egghead makes an arrogant comment like the one you see in the headline above, unfortunately, there is some basis for saying that.

English and Its Closest Relatives

In the last post, we looked at Scots, the closest language actually related to English outside of English creoles. That’s according to Ethnologue anyway. There are only three languages in the Macro-English section, English, Scots and Yinglish, which is Yiddish English.
From Ethnologue (note Fishman is Jewish):

Professor Joshua A. Fishman says, “‘Yinglish’ is a variety of English influenced by Yiddish (lexically, particularly, but also grammatically and phonetically). Any good English dictionary will now include 50–100 (or more) ‘borrowings from Yiddish’ (Yinglish)….
These forms are now used not only by Jews but by others, inversely proportionally to their distance from NYC. In the case of non-Jews the original Yiddish meaning may no longer be known and a related metaphoric or contextual meaning is intended….
Since the variety is only used… (by speakers who can always speak ‘proper English’) Yinglish is never a first language acquired by the usual process of intergenerational transmission. French, Spanish, and Russian counterparts (also a Hebrew counterpart) also exist, but are more restricted in nature, both in size as well as in availability to non-Jews”. Jewish. Second language only.

At first I thought this was a preposterous, but a commenter notes that “it is English with a heavy Brooklyn accent spoken by older Jews and peppered with Yiddish words and phrases.”  Ok, maybe that makes sense then.
Still, I don’t see how that gets in and Geordie (an extremely diverse English dialect) or Scouse (Liverpudlian, likewise), Scottish English or even AAVE (Ebonics) doesn’t make it. Hell, I’ll take Queens New York English before Yinglish.
We looked at Scots earlier. Listening to some Scots tracks, you can pick up a bit of it here and there. It’s hard to say how much you can get. 25%? Less? Who knows. Those of you who listened to the Scots audios in the previous posts, how much were you able to understand? At any rate, for all intents and purposes, Scots is utterly unintelligible to US English speakers.
There’s a lot of silly talk around about mutual intelligibility.
German and English are said to be slightly intelligible, and if German is, you know Dutch must be. It’s frequently said that the language Frisian, spoken in the northern part of Holland, is somewhat intelligible to English speakers.
Frisian is doing ok; it’s relatively secure at the moment. According to commenters at the end of the post, it even has some monolingual speakers. Wow, I never would have expected that.
Frisian been separated from English for possibly up to 1000 years, and if you listen to Frisian, this is what languages sound like after they drift apart for 1000 years. That massive dose of Latinate that went into English did not help matters.
Nevertheless, English and German share 60% lexical similarity, and it’s 80% for the most commonly used vocabulary. In a Swadesh list of 200 words, I think there are only 6 or 7 that lack German cognates. Frisian is even higher. Besides Scots, Frisian is the closest related language to English on Earth, with 61% cognates. So it ought to be interesting to listen to some Dutch and some Frisian to see how much of it we can pick up.
Here is an interview with a top Dutch model, Doutzen Kroes, for a promotional campaign promoting the use of the Frisian language. I believe it is all in Dutch. I could barely make out of a single word out of this 5 minute Dutch language tape. I got a few words, but that is only because I happen to know some Dutch words here and there. Obviously, that doesn’t count. I got about 2%, but that’s only because I know a bit of Dutch.
I will say that Dutch has a bit of a familiar rhythm to it, does it not? It’s not Spanish, French or Italian. The prosody has that English feel to it somehow.
The next video is an interview with the same top model in which she responds in Frisian to questions directed at her in Dutch and English. Don’t look at the Dutch subtitles, because you’ll pick up a lot more words that way. I got the word for “no” in Frisian and that’s pretty much it. But there was a lot of background noise. Comprehension was around 2%.
Let’s try another one. In this one two Frisian poets, Tsead Bruinja and Albertina Soepboer, are interviewed about their upcoming books of poetry. All dialect is in Frisian, clear of background noise, crisp and clear diction. Later Bruinja reads some of his poems in a playground. It was shot in Groningen by Omrop Fryslân, a group that produces Frisian shows on Frisian TV. They have Frisian TV! Cool!
In the comments there are some English speakers claiming that they could pick out enough of it to get the basic understanding. As for me, I could not make out a single damned word. Comprehension was 0%. However, I will allow that Frisian, in prosody, sounds a lot more like English than Dutch does. In fact, it sounds somewhat close to those Scots tapes.
If Frisian and Dutch are this bad, I’m not even going to bother listening to a tape of German. This bit about English and German having some intelligibility seems ridiculous.
A lot of language is about prosody and rhythm. Even if you can’t get a word of that Frisian or Dutch, the rhythm is there. If you have ever heard Old English or try to make it through Beowolf, you will hear that sound in Frisian also. This goes to show you what 61% lexical similarity in two languages gives you comprehension wise – often not a damned thing.
Keep in mind that Japanese and Korean supposedly have 65% or so of their vocabulary derived from Chinese via borrowings. Do you think speakers of Japanese or Korean can make out a word of Chinese, or the other way around? Forget it.
I got a weird and creepy sensation in my body as I watched that Frisian tape. Frisian is a look into our past as English speakers, back to the days before the Angles, Saxons and Jutes got on boats and took off for England long, long ago.
There was a fascinating show on the Discovery Channel a while ago in which the journalist takes a crash course in Old English and then tries to use Old English to buy a cow from a Frisian farmer. The Frisian farmer can actually sort of understand the Old English! Weird…

On the Scots Language

The notion that there is a language called Scots, separate from the English language, instead of just a Scottish dialect of English, makes a lot of folks hopping mad. There is a regular reader who is Scottish who refuses to accept this. The reason is that if you listen to Scots carefully, it does sound like they are speaking a grotesquely distorted and bizarre form of English.
But the thing we linguists keep hammering away at is that if you can’t understand people, they are speaking a different language. People just can’t seem to accept that.
It’s true that Scots is very close to English. Some say that Scots must be more than 90% intelligible with English. This is not the case at all. I don’t have any figures, but a look around the Net showed that the consensus is that Scots is simply not intelligible to many or most speakers of even “Southern English” in the UK (the English spoken in the southern half of the UK). I would gather that even a lot of Northern English speakers can’t make heads or tails of it either. Let’s just forget about American English speakers.
So, bottom line is that Scots is just flat out unintelligible to the vast majority of English speakers.
What does unintelligible mean? According to SIL, unintelligible means you understand less than 70% of what someone is saying. SIL says partially intelligible is 70-89%, and intelligible is 90-100%.
If you ever tried to watch Trainspotting, you know what I am talking about. I think it had subtitles when released her, and it sure needed them, because I could scarcely make out a single word they were saying. Keep in mind that intelligibility differs by individual. A good friend of mine said he watched that movie and figured out the lect about 1 hour into the movie and then was able to make sense out of it, but I never got it.
He’s also a musician, so that may have something to do with it. There’s increasing evidence that musicians are better at language than others. Polyglots are often musically talented. In a lot of ways, language is all about the ear.
To make matters worse, the lect in Trainspotting was not even the real deal, hardcore Scots. It’s just basic Scottish English, not even real Scots at all. It gets pretty hard to figure out where true Scots, Scottish English with heavy Scots interference, and Scottish English proper begin and end.
There are five main dialects of Scots: Insular Scots (Orcadian/Shetlandic),  Northern Scots, Central Scots, Southern Scots and Ulster. As the commenter below notes, intelligibility is quite difficult among dialects of Scots, and it looks like we are looking at more than one language here.
Lafayette Sennacherib,  a Scotsman, writes:

In Scotland, if you go five miles in any direction you encounter a dialect that no one else understands, roughly based on English, but as if there has been little population movement in or out of each little region for 500 years, which is quite possible. There is actually no broad Scots; the poems of Burns are in the dialect of the county of Ayrshire, spoken only there and then.
These days, I as a Glaswegian (from Glasgow, though living in London) find it really hard to understand Ayrshire people when they lapse into dialect, even though it’s little more than 20 miles away. The Edinburgh dialect in Trainspotting is also completely foreign to me, again from only 30 miles away.
As for Shetland or Aberdeen…I worked with a guy from Aberdeen for a year, and only picked out about half a dozen words in that time – if he spoke to me I’d just look philosophical and utter, “Ay mate.”
Funny that although there are lots of accents in the USA, the language is so uniform when there are so many people from so many places. But maybe that’s why – they have to learn a standard dialect to communicate with each other.

Here are some audio samples of Scots from a village called Rosehearty. Here is some more Scots, a 2 minute recitation of a New Testament story. Here are some samples of Ulster Scots, which is pretty much the same language as Scots. This is Philip Robinson reading from a novel called Fergus An The Stane O Destinie. This is clearly a foreign language! This is nothing like Scottish English at all. It’s simply another language altogether.

Mandarin and Putonghua or Standard Languages and Their Dialects

I recently received a comment, which I deleted due to tone, which asked how I could possibly state that Putonghua (Official Mandarin) is incomprehensible with “Mandarin”.
Truth is, there are 1,500 dialects of Mandarin. Putonghua is only an official form of Mandarin based on some of these dialects and instituted after 1949.  In time, Putonghua itself has changed so much that it is no longer intelligible with the pure form of the very dialect that it was based on! Furthermore, new forms of Putonghua have already developed that are incomprehensible to other Putonghua speakers!
The truth is that forms of a language may not be intelligible with each other. That is why I (with the assistance of some of the world’s top Sinologists) am working to redo the classification of Sinitic and carve new languages out of it based on intelligibility. As it stands, there are 14 Sinitic languages. Based on intelligibility, there are far more than that. The Chinese style of promiscuous use of the word “dialect” for both languages and dialects has been very destructive in terms of our understanding of what is really going on there.
Similar things occur in many large languages. Within Macro-Dutch, we probably have 14 different languages, Dutch, 10 forms of Dutch Low Saxon, Zeews and Flemish, and that’s just getting started. For one thing, Flemish is looking like more than one language. None of these lects are mutually intelligible. So there is “Dutch” and then 13 other languages under the “Dutch” rubric.
Within Macro-French, there are 4 languages, Standard French and three others – Cajun French, Walloon and Picard. None of these lects are mutually intelligible. Actually, there are quite a few more, but those are the only ones accepted at this time.
There are 20 different forms of Macro-German – Standard German, Eastern and Western Yiddish, Lower Silesian, Upper Saxon, Bavarian, Cimbrian, Mocheno, Hutterite German, Walser, Swabian, Colonia Tovar German, Schwyzerdütsch, Pennsylvania German, Kölsch, Limburgisch, Pfaelzisch, Mainfränkisch and Luxembourgeois. None of these lects are really mutually intelligible. Actually, there are more than that, but those are the only ones that are recognized. So we have “German” and 19 different languages inside of “German.”
Within Macro-Italian, we have Standard Italian and 13 other languages – Dalmation, Istriot, Neapolitan-Calabrese, Sicilian, Emiliano-Romagnolo, Lombard, Ligurian, Piedmontese, Venetian and four different kinds of Sardinian – Sassarese, Gallurese, Logudurese and Campidanese. None of these lects are really mutually intelligible. So we have “Italian” and 13 different languages inside of “Italian.”
These stuff drives laypeople and Internet cranks completely insane, but linguists look at all it and shrug our shoulders.
National chauvinists are particularly irked by this stuff. Italian nationalists say there is “Italian” and the other 13 languages are Italian dialects. Dutch nationalists insist there is one Dutch and the other 13 languages are Dutch dialects. German nationalists say there is German and the other 19 languages are German dialects.
There’s a tendency among these types to not accept that languages closely related to theirs are actually separate languages and not dialects. This is due to the consolidating, assimilationist, anti-liberationist agenda of the nationalist.
You can go around the Internet and see the wild debates ranging over whether Scots is a separate language or a dialect of English.
What’s interesting is that inside the field and especially in academia, all this stuff causes is just yawns and shoulder shrugs. But outside of the field, ordinary folks are driven mad by this.
This is one reason why people want you to get a degree in a field before you call yourself some kind of an expert. People who call themselves linguists, anthropologists and economists who lack degrees in Linguistics, Anthropology and Economics have a strong tendency to not know what the Hell they are talking about. Many are hacks, cranks and fringe nuts.
Within the fields themselves, especially in academia, there tend to be consensuses about a variety of things, a deep familiarity with the basics of the field and most importantly, a spirit of collegiality and professionalism.
I have nothing against autodidacts in principle, but they often lack all of these things.
Go to sci.lang on Usenet and look at all the autodidacts calling themselves linguists. They are passing themselves off as the world’s leading experts while having raging debates that you won’t hear one peep about in academia. None of these guys would last 10 minutes at a university.
It always pissed me off when people said, “You can’t be a [whatever] unless you have a degree.” But I’m starting to understand what they are talking about. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Interesting Piece on the Shining Path

Here from Al Jazeera. Includes a neat 11 minute minute. Here is Part 2 of the video.
It’s basically a bunch of propaganda crap, exactly what you would suggest. I have some serious issues with Sendero Luminoso, to put it mildly (I always supported a group called the MRTA instead), but this time around, they claim to be doing it right. As usual, Sendero is portrayed as some kind of narco-traffickers.
Barring the arrival of some sort of Chavez-type on the Peruvian scene, I can’t see why the vast majority of Peruvians have even one reason to support the Peruvian state. It’s a horribly racist society, with a completely evil socio-economic system. There’s only one way to get rid of it, I figure, and that’s through revolution. I don’t think the democratic road to power is going to work.
The Peruvian economy has been growing like gangbusters for 10-15 years now, but it has hardly touched poverty one bit. The population in extreme poverty is still around 51%. This reinforces my point about the potential meaningless about capitalist macroeconomics success stories.
Easily preventable deaths by children from obvious malnutrition are easily around 120,000/yr, minimum. That’s why I yawn when they say that Sendero’s war killed 70,000 people. Hell, the system kills more than in half a year, year in and year out. Why focus on Sendero? Who’s the real killer? The Peruvian state!
Sendero killed around 35,000 of those 70,000,  and supposedly the overwhelming majority were “civilians.” The “civilians” lie there is shown in the fact that almost all of those people were members of the rondas, press-ganged local militia that the state had directed to take up arms against Sendero.
Sendero says it realizes how it screwed up, and this time they are going to do it right and not kill the people (they did kill the people a lot last time around).
The US military is there, flying into poor villages and doing civic work, but that’s all counterinsurgency. The problems with the US military’s counterinsurgency civic ops is that they do some civic work here and there, but they never advocate the kind of deep structural changes that society really needs.
It’s like a guy is starving, you have loaves of bread to give him but instead you tear off a few pieces and throw them to him so he will shut up and put away the gun for a while. As soon as he puts the gun down, you won’t even give him crumbs and he gets to die.
That’s what civic ops is all about. Once the guys with the guns put them down, the counterinsurgency civic ops guys pack up and move on the next rathole threatened with armed socialism. The whole enterprise is just fake to the core. If the civic ops people were pressing the state to make deep structural changes to ward off revolution, that would be one thing. That might even make the guys with the guns put them down. But of course they never do it. That would be bad for business.
If Sendero proposed to fight an NPA-style war and advocated a project similar to the Chinese state or the Nepalese Maoists,  I could go along with it. But they were always so radical and extreme!

Don't Eat With Your Left Hand

What did people use before toilet paper was invented?
*Newsprint, paper catalog pages in early US
*Hayballs, Scraper/gompf stick kept in container by the privy in the Middle Ages
*Discarded sheep’s wool in the Viking Age, England
*Frayed end of an old anchor cable was used by sailing crews from Spain and Portugal
*Medieval Europe- Straw, hay, grass, gompf stick
*Corn cobs, Sears Roebuck catalog, mussel shell, newspaper, leaves, sand- United States
*Water and your left hand, India
*Pages from a book, British Lords
*Coconut shells in early Hawaii
*Lace was used by French Royalty
*Public Restrooms in Ancient Rome- A sponge soaked in salt water, on the end of a stick
*The Wealthy in Ancient Rome-Wool and Rosewater
*French Royalty-lace, hemp
*Hemp & wool were used by the elite citizens of the world
*Defecating in the river was very common internationally
*Bidet, France
*Snow and Tundra Moss were used by early Eskimos
Wow, impressive. Humans are so creative, always inventing new things. Sand? Snow? Coconut shells? Mussel shells? Straw? Hay? Grass? The Roman one, a sponge soaked in salt water on the end of a stick, seems like the best one of them all until Charmin came along 2000 years later.
Do it in the river? Terrible idea. In Africa, to this very day, they do it on the beach. Or maybe they wade out into the shallow water a little bit. They have some really beautiful white sand beaches in West Africa, but you really do need to watch where you step.
I believe that in Lagos, Nigeria, a so-called modern city, only 1% of the population has access to indoor plumbing. Where to go? I dunno. Sidewalk? Better watch your step in Lagos too.
In China they used to put it on the crops. I hope they composted it first. Farmers all over China where wheeling around wheelbarrows full of it 60 years ago. It was called “night soil.”
In the Middle Ages, you just went in a bucket. After a while, the bucket filled up. Then you went to the window and tossed it out into the streets. I’m not sure if you looked before you tossed or not.
To this day there is an expression in Mexican Spanish dating from Old Spanish from the Middle Ages – Aguas! means “Watch out!” Aguas means “waters.” This expression dates back to that period when someone was emptying their toilet bucket out into the street below. People down below would yell out, “Waters!” so they could get out of the way when the shit started to fly.

Response To Mike Campbell on Chinese Language Classification

An autodidact named Mike Campbell has issued a long critique of my Chinese language classification.
There are problems with his analysis.
First of all, Campbell says we need to defer to the Chinese on what is a dialect and what is a language. But top Sinologists in the West are saying that the Chinese are falling down on the job and not working according to the modern scientific definition of what is a language and what is a dialect.
The Chinese linguists operate, like Chinese medicine, according to a completely different format that is pretty much at odds with the one used in the West and in much of the rest of the world.
One element of this format is the fangyan. A fangyan has many meanings, but in Chinese it tends to mean “dialect,” or better yet, “topolect.” It also tends to mean the speech form of a given county. But the Chinese definition of the word “dialect” differs radically from the definition used by linguists elsewhere in the world. For one thing, questions of intelligibility with other lects are left out of the definition of fangyan.
Chinese linguists also use hua, which means something like “speech.” This tends to be more expansive than fangyan, but at the same time it can occur down to the level of dialect. Examples include Putonghua, Shanghaihua, Beijinghua, etc, but also Pinghua and Tuhua. It tends to be geographically based – the speech of a particular geographical location, however that geographical location can be expansive or very restricted. But this is not the case in Putonghua, which is just “average speech”, and is spoken all over China.
The third category is yu. Yu is probably the category that Western linguists would most commonly associate with “language” or even “language family.” Yu only refers to separate languages within Chinese. Outside Chinese, the word wen tends to be used. Examples are Wuyu, Minyu, Huiyu, etc.
No one seems to quite know exactly what the Chinese classification is at any given time.
According to Campbell, we must not do anything until the Chinese act first, but they only make a new language maybe once every few years, and they are failing even at that.
Campbell states that Scots and Bavarian are dialects, not languages. He says that Scots is a dialect of English and Bavarian is a dialect of German. However, Ethnologue says that Scots is a separate language and so is Bavarian. The intelligibility of Bavarian and German is only 40%. I lack figures for Scots, but clearly intelligibility is lower than 90%.
Ethnologue is run by SIL. SIL has been granted the task of assigning all of the new ISO numbers. An ISO number means that a lect has been officially recognized by the world linguistic community as a separate language. So SIL are the linguistic scientists who world community has given the task of deciding what is a language and what is not. Campbell is saying that SIL does not know what they are talking about.
Campbell states that mutual intelligibility cannot be determined by talking to speakers and simply asking them whether or not they can understand “those people over there.”
According to Campbell, this is inaccurate. He says the only way to determine intelligibility is through scientific testing methods looking for % in phonology, lexicon, morphology, syntax, etc. He also says that tonal differences are irrelevant for Chinese, because differences in tones do not impede communication, but I would beg to differ on that. Chinese speakers have told me that closely related lects with much different tones can be very difficult to understand, at least at first.
On Ethnologue’s Mexico page, extensive tests have been done on various lects spoken in small villages determining intelligibility between one lect and another. Intelligibility testing is commonly done by simply sitting a speaker of Lect A down in front of a recorded corpus of Lect B and see how much they can understand.
Campbell says that intelligibility testing on human informants is inherently erroneous because as speakers of Close Lect A hear more and more of Close Lect B, they can understand it over a period of time (the exposure factor). This is the problem of interdialectal learning.
Interdialectal learning (the tendency of closely related lects to hear each others’ lects and quickly learn to speak them and hence muddy the waters of intelligibility), trumpeted by Campbell as a reason that intelligibility testing cannot be done on human informants, is regarded by SIL as different from inherent intelligibility. Inherent intelligibility is best regarded as a test of the ability to use the mother tongue.
In other words, when two lects are said to be “inherently unintelligible” this appears to be referring to “virgin” speakers who have not yet had the opportunity to learn each other’s dialects.
Similarly, members of Lect A may simply be bilingual in Lect B, which also invalidates intelligibility testing. However, measures have already been developed to determine bilingualism and the degree of it. A favorite one is SLOPE. SRT is also used in bilingualism testing. Like other intelligibility testing instruments, they have been subjected to tests for reliability and validity over the years.
Further, testing has evolved to the point where we can begin to ferret out bilingualism from inherent intelligibility. In Casad 1974 the author describes testing done on speakers of Mazatec, a Mexican Indian language.
Intelligibility testing was done to see how well they understood Huautla, a related language. Three female speakers had scores in the 50-60% range, and three males had scores in the 90-100% range. Huautla is a local market language that is learned as a second language by many non-Huautla in the surrounding area. I would gather that 55% represents true inherent intelligibility and the 95% speakers represent practiced bilinguals.
At any rate, in the survey, the figures were averaged together so that Mazatec speakers had 76% intelligibility with Huautla and Mazatec and Huautla were said to be separate languages.
Campbell also throws out a red herring in the notion that certain members of a group may simply refuse to hear the language of another group and insist that they do not understand it. Although existent, this problem has little relevance in intelligibility testing. SIL does testing with cross sections of communities.
Furthermore, SIL notes that intelligibility is typically distributed evenly across a community with regard to sex, class and age.
The SD’s for inherent intelligibility in a community are narrow, less than 15%, whereas the SD’s for bilingualism are much higher. This is because in the case of bilingualism, communities differ. Some feel a strong need to learn the other language, others feel no need at all. Further, members differ in their access to an opportunity to learn the other language, even though they may wish to learn it.
This should throw out the notion that females, the aged, the young or the old, the wealthy or the poor, will automatically give us false data on intelligibility.
Campbell hints that intelligibility is poorly defined. However, SIL has listed a hierarchy of intelligibility. SIL says that intelligibility below 70% is “unintelligible” and intelligibility over 90% is “adequately intelligible” (this usually conforms to our ideas of a dialect). Between 71-89% is what SIL calls “marginally intelligible.” Lately, SIL throws most lects with under 90% intelligibility into separate languages.
Campbell recommends throwing out all intelligibility testing with informants as inherently inaccurate and focusing instead of measures of language similarity.
However, SIL notes that linguistic similarity is not an adequate single predictor of intelligibility. For instance, testing in the Philippines revealed pairs of lects with vocabulary similarity of 52, 66, 72 and 74% which had over 90% intelligibility (were inherently intelligible). Over 80% vocabulary similarity for lect pairs resulted in several cases of inherent intelligibility. So lexical similarity is not an adequate measure at all for measuring intelligibility.
In testing of Polynesian, Siouan and Buang, it was found that the higher the level of lexical similarity up to a certain point, the lower the intelligibility scores were. This is counterintuitive, but it shows once again that lexical similarity is poor measure.
Morris Swadesh was the founder of lexicostatistics, the study of lexical similarity. Lexicostatistics has its uses, but determining between closely related languages and dialects is apparently not one of them.
This myth seems to be dying a hard death. Robert Longacre and Sarah Gudschinsky were involved in long debates with Swadesh about the validity of lexical similarity measures, and they seem to have been proven right. The latest findings calculate that any study that uses lexical similarity alone to determine intelligibility of lects has a 4.5-1 chance of failing to do so with any reliability.
Word lists still have their uses. Where word lists show similarities between lects below 60%, odds are that we are dealing two separate languages, and there is no need to do any further intelligibility testing. And they have obvious uses in historical linguistics and in determining genetic relationships between languages.
Vocabulary similarity below 67%, though, typically reveals intelligibility estimates below 60%. Intelligibility below 60% is inadequate for all but the very simplest communication. Before any kind of even slightly complex or revealing messages can be conveyed, intelligibility usually needs to be over 85%. Casad found that 90% intelligibility on a narrative test was necessary before one could move to more complex kinds of communication. Here once again we get into the dialects.
Intelligibility is usually asymmetrical. In other words, Lect A can understand 80% of Lect B, but Lect B can only understand 70% of Lect A. There are arguments about the reasons for this, but one suggestion is that higher figures result from some sort of bilingual learning.
Campbell also points out that it is not uncommon that people speaking the same language cannot always understand each other. He asks how often we have heard a fellow English speaker of the same dialect say something and we did not catch what they were saying for some reason or other. The implication is that we need to throw out all testing with informants due to this.
SIL has actually examined this, and they often include a test called “home-town” in which people are presented with narratives within their own dialect and an intelligibility score is given for that. It is true that sometimes this is lower than 100%, but it is typically not much lower. Nevertheless, using the “home-town factors” of Lects A and B as controls in factor analysis helps greatly when moving on to actual intelligibility between Lect A and Lect B.
One thing to do is to throw out all sentences or questions that score less than 100% on home-town, since if the speakers can’t even understand these sentences well when their own people speak them, how can we measure how well they understand them when speakers of other lects speak them?
Campbell suggests that there are no tests available to use on human informants that pass the smell test of empiricism. This is not the case.
One test, the Sentence Repetition Test (SRT), has been used for decades, subjected to many papers and studies, and criticized and modified in many ways.
In this case of SRT, testing of group members individually has been shown to be superior to testing them in groups. The reason for this is because when you do intelligibility testing in a group of say eight people, you can run into a strong personality or high-ranking male in that group who might say he understands much more than he really does for some reason or another,  possibly to show off. The other less dominant group members then follow his lead and give false high readings on the intelligibility test.
Many linguists, led by SIL, have been leading the way in intelligibility testing for decades now. Some of the top figures in in this subfield are the couple Joseph and Barbara Grimes of SIL. Joseph Grimes is a retired linguistics professor from Cornell.
In addition, a number of computer programs have been created that help the researcher to test intelligibility.
Another charge, that intelligibility testing lacks adequate controls, has been shown to be false. Bias in both experimenter and subject has been shown to be a problem, as is the case in most or all science, and measures have been undertaken to deal with it.
The notion that this subfield of Linguistics, intelligibility testing, is unscientific should be laid to rest.
Ethnologue seems to place tremendous importance on mutual intelligibility, however defined. Mutually unintelligible lects are assumed to be separate languages by Ethnologue. Their criteria for splitting off a dialects into languages seems to be 90%. Below 90%, separate languages. Above 90%, dialects of a single language.
In conclusion, Mr. Campbell’s principal contentions in his critique are all incorrect.
First, he suggests that the very concept of mutual intelligibility between lects is impossible to define or prove. SIL has shown that the concept can be defined and tested by reliable instruments.
Second, he says that the use of human informants in mutual intelligibility testing is so prone to error that it cannot guarantee satisfactory results. This is not the case. SIL has proven, through decades of testing, that mutual intelligibility is best done, or possibly can only be reliably done, through intelligibility tests with human informants.
Third, he throws up a number of red herrings that supposedly prove the inherent unreliability of human informants in intelligibility testing. All of these are shown to be the very red herrings that I claim they are, although it is true that unrecognized bilingualism is a problem, but it can often be ferreted out.
Fourth, he says that the only way to reliably test for intelligibility is to compare lects via tones, phonology, morphology, syntax and lexicon. This is an extremely complicated process utilizing math and computer programs and can only be undertaken by practiced linguists. In truth, such elaborate testing, while interesting, is entirely unnecessary.
Fifth, he suggests that any Western reformulations of Chinese language classification need to first defer to the Chinese. The problem here is that the Chinese have completely fallen down on the job. We cannot defer to the Chinese without upsetting our entire system of language classification. The Chinese are entitled to their system, but it is at odds with that used by the rest of the world.

References

Casad, Eugene H. 1974. Dialect Intelligibility Testing. Summer Institute of Linguistics Publications in Linguistics and Related Fields, 38. Norman, OK: Summer Institute of Linguistics of the University of Oklahoma.
Casad, Eugene H. 1992. “State of the Art: Dialect Survey Fifteen Years Later.”‭ In Eugene H. Casad (ed.), Windows on Bilingualism, 147-58. Summer Institute of Linguistics and the University of Texas at Arlington Publications in Linguistics, 110. Dallas, TX: Summer Institute of Linguistics and the University of Texas at Arlington.
Grimes, Barbara F. 1992. “Notes on Oral Proficiency Testing (SLOPE).”‭ In Eugene H. Casad (ed.), Windows on Bilingualism, 53-60. Summer Institute of Linguistics and the University of Texas at Arlington Publications in Linguistics, 110. Dallas, TX: Summer Institute of Linguistics and the University of Texas at Arlington.
Grimes, Joseph E. 1992. “Calibrating Sentence Repetition Tests.”‭ In Eugene H. Casad (ed.), Windows on Bilingualism, 73-85. Summer Institute of Linguistics and the University of Texas at Arlington Publications in Linguistics, 110. Dallas, TX: Summer Institute of Linguistics and the University of Texas at Arlington.
Grimes, Joseph E. 1992. “Correlations Between Vocabulary Similarity and Intelligibility.”‭ In Eugene H. Casad (ed.), Windows on Bilingualism, 17-32. Summer Institute of Linguistics and the University of Texas at Arlington Publications in Linguistics, 110. Dallas, TX: Summer Institute of Linguistics and the University of Texas at Arlington.

Bring Em Young

Ee gads. I swear this is bordering on child abuse.
Ee gads. I swear this is bordering on child abuse.

Little kids are so cute! Eeek.
The Nazi virus is a terrible illness, and it even strikes young children. Of the kids in the photo, focus on the two on the right. Notice the alien, Vulcan-like red eyes. The red eyes are a sure sign of an infection of the Nazi virus, an indication that any last shreds of humanism have long departed the hollow Nazi soul of the afflicted child.
From Finland.
Those are three young Finnish brothers, posed by their neo-Nazi mother. I was starting to get worried about why so many Finns were going to look at that famous Russian neo-Nazi video on the old site. Now some of my worst suspicions are being realized.
The USSR was so damned aggressive in WW2, attacking Finland and the Baltic states, attempting to annex Finland and actually annexing the Baltics, that it left a long-term bad taste in the mouth of these blond and blue northerners. Hatred of Communism and the USSR often goes along with seeing Nazis as liberators, if only from the hated Soviets. I always thought the Winter War (USSR vs Finland) was retarded. Anyone want to try to justify it for me?

A Look at California Street Gang Structure

According to the FBI, there are 1 million gang members in the US, an increase of 200,000, or 25%, from four years ago.
That 1 million figure must be far too low.
Who is and who is not a gang member is very hard to determine. For instance, in this area, there are three levels of the gang.
There are the real hardcore Nortenos – level 1. Those are older guys and they are actually allowed to have Norteno tattoos on them. They have all been jumped in, probably in prison.
Then there are younger guys who have “wannabe” gangs, around here wannabe Norteno gangs – level 2. The one around here is called something like 601 Kings. They claim territory, spray a little graffiti and sometimes fight with the other young wannabe gangs.
But I told my neighbors about this gang and they started laughing and said, “That’s so stupid!” They said that’s not “the real Nortenos” and if these kids went to jail or prison and tried to claim Norteno, they would get beat up just like that. Plus no way are they allowed to be caught dead in jail or prison with an unauthorized tattoo.
I’m dubious if you even have to be jumped in to be a member of a level 2 gang. These level 2 gangs are best thought of as just the local neighborhood kids from wherever forming a set, calling themselves the whatevers, and then trying to “make a name for themselves” so to speak. But the real hardcore Nortenos will just ignore them, laugh at them and have nothing to do with them. Level 2 is like the upstarts. No way are they the real deal.
I know a lot these characters around here, and some of these young guys are actually sort of ok in a gangsterish way, but others are no good. Mainly, no way can you openly insult their gang or support the opposing gang. Some of them, if you respect them, they respect you, pretty much.
Even below level 2 is level 3, which probably represents most of the characters around here. They wear Norteno colors and gangster attire, sometimes spray graffiti, and sometimes they fight with opposing gangs, but they aren’t really even level 2 gang members as far as I can tell. I guess they are what you call associates. Truth is that just about all the young Hispanics around here “claim” or “represent” Norteno. That doesn’t mean they are in any gang.
This is a Norteno hood, so everyone here pretty much claims Norteno by default. That is, they sort of root for them at least or if not, at least don’t support the Sureno enemies. It’s sort of like rooting for the Dodgers if you lived in Brooklyn. They support the home team. Heck, I practically claim Norteno on that basis!
The level 3 group represents a vast number of people, and if you include them, the figure must be dramatically higher than 1 million. Furthermore, I believe that most of the graffiti crews around here are at most these level 3 kids.
As far as what crime they are involved in, level 2 gangs sell dope sometimes, possibly deal in stolen property, spray graffiti, and sometimes fight with rival gangs. That’s about it from what I can tell. You can actually live in a place like this, as long as you don’t get involved in the gang crap yourself and avoid making friends with these characters. Just choose your friends very carefully. For the most part, they don’t bother people who are outside the gang thing.
These levels of distinction are not represented very well outside of gang insider clique circles, certainly not in the media.

Gays Got Culture, Straights Got Stupid

And then it went the other way around.
From a great essay by Edmund White, a fine gay writer.
Speaking of men here, not women.
Gays got culture, straights got stupid.
That was in from at least the 1950’s through about the 1970’s.
During this period, gays were very much into culture, ballet, the opera, reading literature in the original foreign language, spent two days in the kitchen on single dishes, indulged in makeup, hair and clothing as much as a woman, listened to jazz and the best classical and loved to go to the burlesque show.
At this time, straight men were expected to never read, cook only on an outdoor grill if at all, willfully cultivate huge beer bellies, slump on the couch drinking beer after beer watching the game, be unadventurous in bed, care noting about clothes, refuse to dance and listen to crappy music if any. That was what being a real he-man was all about. Anything less and you were a pussy, if not an out and out homo.
And then it went the other way around.
In the 1970’s and 80’s, all of a sudden, a straight man could cook, speak a foreign language, wear nice clothes, spend money on your hair, work out at the gym, learn to cook in the kitchen, be an artist in bed with women, listen to classical music and jazz, read great literature, go to art museums and the opera, go to self-examination workshops on the weekend, go on diets and eat healthy foods, know their wines, and lately even, God forbid, use cosmetics and dye your hair. All without most folks thinking you were a faggot.
And now it’s gays who champion shallowness and stupidity, and gay culture is all about sex, big dicks, more sex, getting high, working out all the time to get the perfect body and spending the weekends clubbing. Gays read nothing but magazines and David Sedaris, if anyone. Multiple languages, skills in the kitchen and being a culture maven gave way to the cult of instant gratification.

Finn Joke

Lots of ethnic groups get insulted, but no one ever insults the Finns. This is grossly unfair. They have very high rates of depression and heart disease, never smile, hate Russians pathologically, like to dive into freezing cold water in the middle of winter like lunatics, have no gourmet foods to speak of, and have an insanely difficult language that is frankly incapable of being learned by anyone not a native speaker.
It’s time to dog on the Finns!
Hey, did you hear the one about the Finns?
They were Finnish before they even started.
Har har.
I used to date this 1/2 Finnish, 1/2 Russian girl named Tami, and damn was she beautiful! Blonde hair, blue eyes, smart, happy, friendly, oh yeah!

Barack Obama, the Sixth Black President

Check it out.
Not sure what to make of it, but the first five could indeed have been “high yellow.”
Perhaps we will never know. Anyway, Obama is the first President who actually looks Black and is actively working to help Blacks from a position of Black identity (except possibly Lincoln), which pretty much renders to genetics of the others moot.

An Inquiry Into Roman Antisemitism

In the following excerpt from the great historical novel, Yourcenar’s Memoirs of Hadrian, we see the so-called anti-Semitism of the Romans. Super-Jews usually interpret this sentiment as an example of the age-old mindless genocidal hatred of the Jews.
As we can see though, the pragmatic Romans had their reasons for their anti-Semitism, and they were not really mindless reasons at all.
The Jewish New Year celebrations were banned because they were causing violent riots every year.
For similar reasons, probably because it also led to violent riots, the authorities also forbade the public reading of the Story of Esther, the basis for Purim holiday, but which the Romans regarded as a perverse celebration of  horrendous mutual massacre on the part of both the Jews and the Persians.
Jewish paranoia is already evident, as a harmless logo of a Roman legion, a boar, is interpreted as a deliberate insult to the Jewish religion’s prohibition on eating pork.
In a spirit of universalism, the Roman governor forbade circumcision. The reasons are not quite elaborated, but apparently he wanted to assimilate the Jews into the rest of the Empire. We see already the Jews’ refusal to assimilate. This refusal has been the cause of a tremendous amount of anti-Semitism over the centuries, but anger over refusal to assimilate is hardly mindless.
Furthermore, it appears that the Romans regarded circumcision as a barbarism along the lines of castration, which they had just previously forbidden. In this the Romans mirror movements, some of them even regarded strangely as progressive, to outlaw or at least discourage circumcision, especially in the West. These movements have actually managed to attract a lot of support from physicians.
Keep in mind that the Romans considered themselves the ultimate in civilized folks, and regarded many of their subjects as barbarians of one type or another. Along the same lines, the Romans required little of their subjects beyond taxes, but they did request that the subjects, whatever their religion, also accept the Roman Gods. Almost all subject peoples just went along with this as one of the prices for being a vassal state.
The Roman elite, it should be noted, were very secular (and nearly pre-scientific) folks, and many of them hardly even believed in the Roman Gods themselves, regarding it instead as some sort of opiate of the people thing to keep the peons satisfied.
The Romans also accuse the Jews of hatred and contempt for non-Jews. This is an age-old charge, and obviously there must be something to it or it would not be repeated endlessly.
Hadrian wished to turn Jerusalem into more of an international city, mirroring the progressive efforts of today to make it an international city under the auspices of the UN as part of a peace settlement of the Middle East conflict.
The Jews, mirroring the Zionists of today, seemed to want to keep Jerusalem as a Jews-only city. The Romans introduced classes in Greek literature to Jerusalem (the ultimate in civilized standards of the day). The Jews reacted with violence to this, or any other tainting of their Jewish city and lives with “foreign influence.” One famous Jew even allowed his child to die rather than to be treated by a famous Greek doctor sent to try to save his life.
The Romans tried over and over, exasperated, to mollify these fanatics, but were thwarted at every turn. Eventually the famous Jewish Bar Kokba Rebellion erupted around 150 AD, the result of which was the razing of Jerusalem to the ground.
So we see here that Roman anti-Semitism was not based on irrational hatred or evil, but with the frustration of the uber-civilized Romans with a religious-ethnic group whom they regarded as steeped in barbarous fanaticism.
Looking at it from a more pro-Jewish POV, we can see the Jews as the ultimate rebels who would never submit to any other outside authority, especially in matters of religion.

The Tenth Legion Fretensis has a wild boar for its emblem; when its standard was placed at the city gates, as is the custom, the populace, unused to painted or sculptured images (deprived as they have been for centuries by superstition highly unfavorable to the progress of the arts), mistook that symbol for a swine, the meat of which is forbidden them, and read into that insignificant affair an affront to the customs of Israel.
The festivals of the Jewish New Year, celebrated with a din of trumpets and ram’s horns, give rise every year to brawling and bloodshed; our authorities accordingly forbade the public reading of a certain legendary account devoted to the exploits of a Jewish heroine (Easther) who was said to have become, under an assumed name, the concubine of a king of Persia (Iran), and to have instigated a savage massacre of the enemies of her despised and persecuted race.
The rabbis managed to read at night what the governor Tineus Rufus forbade them to read by day; that barbarous story, wherein Persians and Jews rivaled each other in atrocities, roused the nationalistic fervor of the Zealots to frenzy (a feast of Purim).
Finally, this same Tineus Rufus, a man of good judgment in other respects and not uninterested in Israel’s traditions and fables, decided to extend to the Jewish practice of circumcision the same severe penalties of the law which I had recently promulgated against castration (and which was aimed especially at cruelties perpetrated upon young slaves for the sake of exorbitant gain or debauch).
He hoped thus to obliterate one of the marks whereby Israel claims to distinguish itself from the rest of human kind.
I took the less notice of the danger of that measure, when I received word of it, in that many wealthy and enlightened Jews whom one meets in Alexandria (Egypt) and in Rome have ceased to submit their children to a practice which makes them ridiculous in the public baths and gymnasiums; and they even arrange to conceal the evidence on themselves.
I was unaware of the extent to which these banker collectors of myrrhine vases differed from the true Israel. As I said, nothing in all that was beyond repair, but the hatred, the mutual contempt, and the rancor were so.
In principle, Judaism has its place among the religions of the empire; in practice, Israel has refused for centuries to be one people among many others, with one god among the gods.
The most primitive Dacians (Bulgarians) know that their Zalmoxis is called Jupiter in Rome; the Phoenician Baal of Mount Casius has been readily identified with the Father who holds Victory in his hands, and whom Wisdom is born; the Egyptians, though so proud of their myths some thousands of years old, are willing to see in Osiris a Bacchus with funeral attributes; harsh Mithra admits himself brother of Apollo.
No people but Israel has the arrogance to confine truth wholly within the narrow limits of a single conception of divine, thereby insulting the manifold nature of Deity, who contains all; no other god has inspired his worshipers with disdain and hatred for those who pray at different altars.
I was only the more anxious to make Jerusalem a city like others, where several races and several beliefs could live in peace; but I was wrong to forget that in any combat between fanaticism and common sense the latter has rarely the upper hand.
The clergy of the ancient city were scandalized by the opening of schools where Greek literature was taught; the rabbi Joshua, a pleasant, learned man with whom I had frequently conversed in Athens, but who was trying to excuse himself to his people for his foreign culture and his relations with us, now ordered  his disciples not to take up such profane studies unless they could find an hour which was neither day or night, since Jewish law must be studied night and day.
Ismael, an important member of the Sanhedrin, who supposedly adhered to the side of Rome, let his nephew Ben-Dama die rather than accept the services the Greek surgeon sent to him by Tineus Rufus.

References

Yourcenar, Marguerite. 1954-1963. Memoirs of Hadrian. Translated from the French by Grace Frick. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

2005 Nobel Prize in Economics Winners

Two nasty Nobel Prize winners.
The two men, Thomas C. Schelling and Robert J. Aumann, won for Game Theory, but unfortunately, they applied much of their Game Theory to wars, especially the most immoral wars, cold and hot, of the US and Israel.
Mr. Schelling was long involved in trying to win a nuclear war against the USSR, then with the collapse of the USSR, advocated for the overthrow of other nations the US wants to regime change, often through nonviolent revolutions. His theory was most recently used in the “color revolutions of Lebanon, Georgia and Ukraine.
Mr. Aumann is most unpleasant. A Super-Jew and Super-Zionist, he opposed the withdrawal from Gaza and has long advocated the annexation of Gaza into Israel, although I assume that the Palestinians will not receive any state benefits, nor will they be able to vote. His game theory was used in the recent blockade of Gaza intended to force the Gazans to overthrow Hamas.
Nice people, these Nobel Prize winners!

Why Were There Survivors in the Concentration Camps?

Some charming Holocaust Deniers in the comments threads (They are nicest people!) have mocked the Holocaust, asking why there were survivors at all from the death camps.
The answer is complex.
The camps were not necessarily set up for immediate extermination. Even at the death camps, some were selected for the gas right away and others were selected to remain alive at least for a while. These were worked as slave labor, given very little food, and packed together. Many died of starvation and disease, but that was the idea. The idea was to torment them, get some work out of them, and slowly kill them.
Other camps were full on labor camps. Auschwitz was pretty much a gigantic factory. At some of these camps, people managed to stay alive for a long time, possibly years. Some also become favored Jews, kapos, or developed relationships, including sexual ones, with camp staff, and stayed alive that way. The guards needed to have some inmates on their side, kind of like in a jail where they have trustees and whatnot.
As you can see in the photos on liberation, many of the inmates were not in very good shape, to put it mildly. At the end, they emptied the camps and made them go on death marches, where a lot of them died or were murdered. I suppose they could have just lined them up and shot them in the camps, but they did not do that. There was a large element of sadism, perversity, torture, torment and slow death to the whole enterprise.
Further, the Nazi project regarding the Jews was of two minds. Part of the project dealt with killing Jews immediately, and another dealt with keeping them alive, but usually slowly killing them, in the camps over a period of time. And some Jews were just left alive – kapos, girlfriends of guards, etc. The Holocaust was not so much a master plan but an act of madness. As such, its purposes frequently clashed, and in many cases, were poorly developed and even contradictory.
The Shoah also seriously hampered the war effort, especially towards the end when trains needed for the war effort were diverted in order to kill Jews, seriously harming the military. So the Jew-killing was not even rational from a military POV. The Nazis were almost afflicted with a Jew-killing psychosis.
The notion of exterminating some, leaving others to perish of starvation and disease, and packing others in camps to work them to death until starvation and disease took them over can be seen in the Generalplan Ost intended for the peoples of Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia, Belarus. So the Shoah and Generalplan Ost were actually similar, and in Generalplan Ost we have a model for the Shoah, though a much more merciful one. A better analogy would be that Poland and its quisling General Government were Generalplan Ost in praxis.

Mediterranean Sardines on Rice

Ok, I think I am finally getting the sardines thing down. I have tons of sardines and lots of rice, so I am trying to figure out something to make with them. This was by far the best one of them all:
Ingredients:
2 tins sardines
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup canned spinach
1 small onion, yellow or white, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup black olives, finely chopped
2 Tbsp Basque fish sauce
2 Tbsp chili sauce
1 Tbsp red wine garlic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp stone ground mustard
1 Tbsp capers
1 slice lemon
20 shakes of pepper
Directions:
Cook the rice. Boil 2 cups of water in a pan and add 8 oz. rice to boiling water. Turn to low, cover and cook 15 minutes or until water has boiled away. Set rice aside.
Peel the onion and garlic clove and remove 2 cloves. Peel the 2 garlic cloves. Chop the onion and garlic cloves on a board and set aside. In a large pan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil on medium high. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook on medium high until caramelized (light brown).
Turn heat off. Drain and chop olives and add. Add fish sauce, capers, mustard, vinegar, chili sauce and sardines to pan. Set one sardine aside to add as a garnish. Turn heat back on to medium high and cook, stirring. Break up sardines as you stir. Stir until well-cooked.
Drain spinach and add to the mixture. Cook spinach on medium high with the rest of the sautee. Add 20 shakes of pepper and stir in. Now add rice to mixture and cook on medium high. Stir rice in well with the mixture until the rice is sort of a greenish-gray color. Add spices to taste.
Can be served hot or cold, but I ate it hot. Add slice of lemon on top. I squeezed the lemon out onto the rice. Add final sardine as a garnish on top. Eat away!
This was the best meat and rice dish I have cooked so far. I was dubious about the chili sauce, but chili sauce is used with seafood and in shrimp cocktails, so I decided to take a chance. I hardly knew what capers were, but the capers go with sardines perfectly and the capers just about make the dish! I was also unsure about the spinach, but the spinach went fantastically with the whole dish. You can definitely add some Italian parsley, but I didn’t have any.
It has a really strong, Mediterranean, fishy smell and taste, so if you don’t like sardines, you won’t like this.
Capers are little things in a jar that look like miniscule olives. They’re cheap – about $1.50/jar. The chili sauce is cheap – $2/bottle. A good bottle of vinegar will set you back $3. Extra virgin olive oil is expensive, but worth it, at around $7-8 bottle. The lemon, onion and garlic bulb cost almost nothing.
The Basque fish sauce, sardines, olives and spinach were lying around. Rice is cheap. Sardines are cheap too.
Keep in mind that to get 2 cups of rice, you use I cup of rice and 2 cups of water, because rice expands in water.
You need to wear an apron because stuff splashes around a lot.
Cooking isn’t gay, it’s macho! If you’re a bachelor, you either learn to cook or you eat like a dog. Real men cook!

About Those Tunnels

The tunnels in Gaza are supposedly being pounded by the IDF because they are used for smuggling weapons. However, most of the tunnels are just being used to smuggle food, medicine, household appliances, cooking gas, etc. The tunnels are run by underground business concerns in Rafah, and are quite lucrative. Each of the armed groups has their own smuggling tunnels for smuggling weaponry and whatnot.
I find it hard to understand why tunnels that smuggle goods for the civilian population of Gaza must be bombed. The whole idea here, as from the very start of the blockade after Hamas won the election, is about punishing the civilian population for voting for Hamas. As soon as Hamas won, demands were placed on it by the Group of Four, apparently the US, Israel, the UK and the EU (So much for the anti-Semitic Europeans!). These demands were quite unreasonable.
Among them were the recognition of Israel and the renunciation of violence. It should be pointed out that no one is demanding that Israel recognize Palestine or renounce violence. Anyway, an occupied people have the right to armed resistance. Since Hamas refused to obey, a cruel embargo was slapped on them, intended specifically to punish the people of Gaza for electing Hamas.
This embargo resulted in over 50% of Gaza’s children suffering from malnutrition, along with serious deficits in medicines and medical equipment. Outrageously, Egypt went along with this embargo.
The power plant was bombed – the plant which ran the sewage treatment plant – so raw sewage has been pouring out into the ocean and is now seeping into the aquifer, threatening to contaminate the water supply.
The rocket attacks pretty much started when Israel refused to lift the embargo. After Israel pulled out of Gaza, it retained control over Gaza’s borders, including the borders at Egypt and the sea. Israel even retained control over Gaza’s population registry list. As a starting point at working towards a cease-fire, Israel could have offered to lift the blockade in return for a halt in rocket attacks.
In Operation Cast Lead, it looks like Israel bombed that American school in Gaza, the crown jewel of Gaza’s education system, on purpose. Once again, the reason here is just to punish the civilian population for electing and supporting Hamas. There were no rockets being fired from anywhere near that school.
The superb Norman Finkelstein has an excellent roundup (long) of the issues surrounding Operation Cast Lead 2008-2009 and the Lebanon War 2006, the real reasons for both of which were to “restore Israeli deterrence capacity vis a vis the Arabs” and to head off a potential peace settlement on terms that Israel considers to be unfavorable. The piece also deals with many issues surrounding the events leading up to Operation Cast Lead.
Dem Arabs gittin a bit uppity, have to put dem in dey place.

Where Did All That Wall Street Money Go?

The US economy, or the world economy, lost…What? Hundreds of billions? Trillions? …of dollars when Wall Street firms and banks went belly-up. Many are asking where the money went. Obviously, somebody raked in the loot. Who? The helpful commenters on Xymphora suggest…two guesses? The Jews! How did you guess?
Leaving aside for the moment whether or not “the Jews” got rich off Wall Street getting its clock cleaned, we should deal instead with the issue of whether anyone at all got rich off the massive losses on Wall Street, or whether the billions or trillions of losses went into anyone’s pocket.
My position is that no one got rich off the Wall Street crash and burn, as the money lost never even existed in the first place. You know, paper money, paper profits, all that.
Any readers have any thoughts on this?

Why Egypt Cooperated With Israel on the Gaza Operation

This question has probably mystified many people.
The Ikwaan. And, in the Egyptian context, specifically.
Hassan al-Banna.
What does this have to do with Hamas? It is not well-known, because the MB is unpopular, along with fundamentalist Islam (yes, it is true, forget the Zionist lies), in Palestine, but Hamas is nothing other than the Muslim Brotherhood-Palestine (see 2nd paragraph). Also see here, under Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
MB-Palestine is nothing other than a wing of MB-Egypt. The MB connection makes Hamas’ very close alliance with Syria all the more perverse and odd.
Lots of hard feelings, shall we say, between MB-Egypt and many successive regimes. MB-Egypt has a necessary and sufficient relationship with Al Qaeda itself. Al Qaeda’s leading philosopher (deceased) was a member. One of the philosopher’s most ardent followers is this man, still alive and broadcasting regular videos, including one in which he proudly claims the 9-11 attacks and castigates those who blame the US and Israel as underestimating the great capabilities of the Sunnis.
This man is not well-liked by the Egyptian state.
This war with the Egyptian state has been pretty much resolved.
Egypt mass-arrested most of the members, took them out to the desert, tied them to stakes with no food or water, and requested that they talk. Those who did not give in to interrogators experienced the wrath of the desert met with a man armed with neither food nor water. Death in a day or two. 1000 or so were killed in this charming way. We see how the Arab conducts counterinsurgency. Can you imagine the outcry if Israel deigned to emulate the hated Arabs?
Saudi Arabia is one half of the Al Qaeda equation, in terms of its birth anyway. MB-Egypt, etc, etc, is the other half. Failure to understand this essential aspect of the Al Qaeda birth process and continuing influence results in a failure to understand AQ. Why should Americans understand Al Qaeda? 9-11 is an emergency phone call number.

References

Wright, Lawrence. 2006. The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Highly recommended; great read!